by Latoya Peterson
Yeah, that about says it all.
From the California based paper, the Press Enterprise:
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”
Now, normally, something like that would just make me shake my head in disgust. But actually, the next reported paragraph made me smile.
The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.
Thank you, members. Call things what they are. This is racist. But of course, the publisher of the newsletter doesn’t see it that way at all:
The group’s president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club’s meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”
“It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don’t want to go into it any further,” Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.”
Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.
Did you catch that? She was offended Obama would draw attention to his own race, so she decided to reprint a racist illustration. And how dare he state the obvious? The nerve of him!
Oh, wait, and she has a black friend:
She said she doesn’t think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.
She also claims to be ignorant of one of the most well known stereotypes in US History:
“I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.”
She said she also wasn’t trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: “Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”
The rest of the article focuses on the reactions of members of the group.
Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.
“This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”
How right you are, Sheila. More and more African American youth are distancing ourselves from the Democratic Party, preferring to stay politically independent. And for many nonwhites in general, we can find parts of the Republican party that hold appeal – being fiscally conservative for some, and being socially conservative for others. And yet, we stay away. This isn’t rocket science.
Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman and member of the women’s group, said the item is rude and requires a public apology.
“When I opened that up and saw it, I said, ‘Why did they do this? It doesn’t even reflect our principles and values,’ ” said Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. “I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they’re fantastic. They’re volunteers. They really care — some of them go to my church.”
Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration.
The Republican party seems to be having a crisis. Somehow, I missed Christopher Buckley’s amazing post “Sorry Dad, I’m Voting for Obama.”
(Aside: I cannot express how happy this makes me. Not that Buckley is voting for Obama, though that is a perk. I am a *huge* fan of Buckley’s fiction and it has always shocked me how he is able to lampoon Washington so well, yet say things like “one of my greatest pleasures is voting Republican.” His disillusionment with his own party started kind of early – this is just the final nail in the coffin.)
Andrew Sullivan expressed similar sentiments.
It just appears that the nation is in a state of political upheaval.
Against this backdrop, it does not surprise me at all that we’re seeing increasingly charged racial incidents and denials of the meaning of those incident. Change is happening, right around us, right at this very moment. And no one said it would be easy.
But it is coming.
Which is why I have to smile at this article. It appears the tide has shifted within the ranks of the GOP, and the tactic of quietly (or overtly) appealing to the racist voter block will soon be an unworkable strategy.
And it won’t be because the world suddenly became less racist.
It will be because people are finally standing up, and calling things for what they are.
Thanks Fatemeh, for sending this in!
(Image credit: The Press Enterprise)
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